It wasn't too long ago that Hurricanes fans dreaded the third period because the Canes would always seem to save their worst performance for that frame and ended up losing many games because of it. Over the last three games, the Canes have outscored their opponents 6-0 in the third period and have comeback wins in two of those games, as well. What is even more encouraging is that they've outshot and outchanced their opponents in all three of these games so it's not just luck that's been carrying them through the third period. The Canes have been working hard to win these games and it's something I hope we continue to see under Kirk Muller.
Tonight's 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets was very satisfying because not only was it a win against a division opponent on the road, but it was also a nice way to make the Jets pay for their dirty play throughout the game. We saw three very ugly hits from Winnipeg players, one of which was a blatant charge that will likely put Andreas Nodl on the shelf for a bit, and while many are hoping that these players receive a punishment from Mr. Shanahan, Carolina picking up the victory tonight and putting a dent in Winnipeg's playoff hopes is satisfying enough for me.
Despite the thrilling win, Carolina was sloppy for the first two periods and probably could have put this game away much earlier when you factor in that they had five powerplays to work with, one of which was five minutes and still let the Jets take the lead. Their play at even strength was pretty weak as they only registered nine scoring chances but they limited the Jets to 12 and kept the game in reach for most of the time. You have to love the way Carolina played in the third period, though. Their efforts in the final 20 minutes of the last few games have been terrific and it would be great to see them play like that over a full 60 minutes.
Scoring chances & more after the jump
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Carolina's chances are in red, Winnipeg's are in white
For the second straight game in a row, the Hurricanes converted on their first scoring chance of the game which was a shorthanded goal by Jussi Jokinen. After that, it was all Jets. It was partially because Carolina took three consecutive penalties to begin the game and that helped the Jets gain a huge territorial advantage for pretty much the entire first period. That shorthanded goal proved to be huge for Carolina because they could have easily been trailing 1-0 or worse at the end of the first. Carolina also had three powerplays of their own during the first period and did absolutely nothing with them. The only scoring chance they registered was a quick shot on goal from Drayson Bowman which was easily stopped by Ondrej Pavelec.
Carolina made good use of the powerplay in the second period with Eric Staal scoring his 20th goal of the year less than 30 seconds into their first powerplay of the second period. Winnipeg would answer with a powerplay goal of their own five minutes later as the Hurricanes let Antti Miettinen get right in front of Cam Ward and he tipped in a point shot from Evander Kane to tie the game. Almost immediately after a goal, Zach Bogosian made an extremely dirty hit on Andreas Nodl which led to the Hurricanes getting a five minute powerplay and a chance to break this game open in their favor. The best way to make a team pay for a dirty hit is to take advantage of powerplay opportunities and the Hurricanes did not do that. They failed to score on the five minute powerplay and registered only three scoring chances. This came back to hurt them later in the period when Miettinen scored his second goal of the game after a defensive breakdown in the neutral zone led to an odd-man rush.
Being in a similar position to where they were yesterday, down 3-2 on the road, Carolina responded in a similar fashion by coming out strong in the third period and doing a great job at controlling possession. To get a perspective on how much better they were in the third period compared to the rest of the game, I will just mention how they had a total of six even strength shots on goal for the first two periods and ended the game with 25 even strength shots on goal. This proved to pay off for them when the Hurricanes forced a turnover in their own zone and Jokinen sent a perfect stretch pass to Staal, who then scored a breakaway goal. Winnipeg then seemed to wake up as they began to control the territorial play during the last few minutes and had a few very good chances. Ward answered all of them and the Canes would get the game winning goal in dramatic fashion when Eric Staal drew two defenders towards him in the offensive zone, forced a horrible clear by Dustin Byfuglien, which led to Chad LaRose grabbing the loose puck and firing it over the shoulder of Pavelec to give the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead with less than two minutes left. Winnipeg would get some pressure in the last minute but it wasn't enough to tie the game and the Canes took home their third straight victory.
Very, very ugly win and this really did not need to be as much of a nail-biter as it was but a dramatic win every now and then is nice. Carolina rebounced nicely from a rough start and took home an extremely satisfying win.
Individual Scoring Chances
Best EV Forwards: Chad LaRose +1
Worst EV Forward: Anthony Stewart -4
Best EV Defenseman: Justin Faulk +1
Worst EV Defenseman: Tim Gleason -3
If I had to pick one standout forward from Carolina, it would be either Chad LaRose, Jussi Jokinen or Eric Staal and that's not just because they scored all four of our goals....well actually, that is the main reason but I thought these three played great despite what the corsi report says. None of the team's forwards did much at even strength but LaRose and Staal contributed to the most scoring chances and both were great on the powerplay compared to the rest of the team. Jokinen's play at even strength wasn't spectacular but his special teams contributions really helped the team, especially his shorthanded goal.
With Jokinen getting promoted and Andreas Nodl getting knocked out in the second period, the lines looked very odd to say the least. The new top unit of Jokinen-Staal-LaRose was heavily leaned on at even strength for most of the game while Tuomo Ruutu ended up playing a good part of the game with Brandon Sutter. Ruutu struggled to earn ice-time tonight as he wasn't very effective at even strength or on the powerplay. I don't know if this is because of rink rust or what but he really needs to find his groove soon. Sutter was fine defensively, did a great job on the penalty kill and even saw some time on the powerplay. Sutter's usual linemate, Patrick Dwyer, did not play much and missed a good chunk of time after his fight with Spencer Machacek.
The FS-Carolinas crew mentioned a few times that Anthony Stewart and Derek Joslin were the team's most "spirited" players and earned a promotion to the first line. They were in the offensive zone a lot but they weren't creating many chances at all and to make things worse, they gave up a lot in the defensive zone, too. This has been the case with them all year. As for Tim Brent, he played more minutes than usual and had a pretty normal game by his standards. His work on the powerplay was very weak, though.
Justin Faulk & Jay Harrison played the most minutes and defended the Wheeler-Little-Ladd line for most of the game. That line produced only two even strength chances and Faulk/Harrison's coverage had a lot to do with that. Harrison was one of the team's better defensemen at controling possession and was tied for the team lead in blocked shots. Harrison was also the team's best penalty killer and ended up leading the team in time on ice. Faulk's been getting a lot of praise for his play but Harrison has also been very good on the second pairing this season. It's also interesting to see these two outplay Tim Gleason & Bryan Allen again. Gleason also ended up playing a lot of minutes with multiple partners and he perfromed slightly better with Allen than he did with Jamie McBain.
Muller and Lewis limited Bobby Sanguinetti's minutes and it didn't seem to work or hurt them at all. He surrendered only one scoring chance while being on ice for none of Carolina's. He did alright on the powerplay, though.
- When they were together, Dywer, Sutter & Nodl were terrific at defending Evander Kane's line. Here's hoping that Nodl is alright because he looked to be in pretty bad shape after taking that hit from Bogosian.
- Bogosian getting himself ejected proved to be a huge loss because he was playing well until then and made Ron Hainsey look a lot better.
- Antti Miettinen had a nice game and beat out all of his matchups. A well deserved two-goal game for him. Kyle Wellwood, Tanner Glass, Jim Slater, Randy Jones & Tim Stapleton also had great games. I have to think that this would be a different game if Nik Antropov didn't get hurt because Winnipeg's third line was rolling.
- Dustin Byfuglien was awful and made a terrible clearing attempt that led to the game-winning goal. Enstrom's coverage and the lack of forwards backchecking didn't help the cause, either.
- Nice to see our "first line" of Staal, Jokinen & LaRose outchance the Jets top line and defense pairing in their matchups.
- All of our defense pairings completely shut down Winnipeg's top unit of Ladd, Wheeler & Little.
Winnipeg Scoring Chances
Best EV Forward: Tim Stapleton +4
Worst EV Forwards: Ladd, Wheeler & Little -2
Best EV Defenseman: Ron Hainsey +4
Worst EV Defenseman: Dustin Byfuglien -4